The 3 most common physical attacks on women and how to protect yourself

Published: Mar. 21, 2019 at 5:38 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - According to the latest national survey from the Department of Justice, 51.9 percent of American women reported experiencing physical violence at some point in their life.

Safety and security expert Karl de la Guerra, says that “the ability to be able to protect ourselves is something everyone is concerned about.” When discussing and analyzing attacks, specifically on women, de la Guerra says that using “body mechanics” is the key way to combat what he says is “the very specific reaction the attackers expect for you to have when confronted with the physical assault situation.”

The key of course, Guerra says, is starting strong even before an attack. “As soon as you believe someone is approaching you and you get that gut instinct that something is off...the first thing to do is build distance...and say ‘get back’ as loudly as possible. There is nothing more important than your immediate personal safety."

However, some attacks don’t have as much warning, so training and quick thinking is key. “You have to make a conscious decision - but what if the attacker is larger and stronger than me? That’s where training comes in for these most common attacks."

1. The Arm Grab

When someone grabs you by the arm - be it when you’re reaching for a purse or opening a car door, the first thing to do is need to recognize the hand position of your attacker.

Twist your wrist so it is like a flat blade. The bottom part of your wrist pointed towards the ground so the "C" clamp where your attacks fingers are is on the side.

Then jerk your wrist horizontally - away from the attacker to get out of the hold.

2. The “Bear Hug”

Guerra says this attack “is when a man grabs a woman from behind and tries to control her...but the mistake here is when they line their body up directly behind yours, giving you the upper hand.”

The first thing you need to do is swell your shoulders up and back to create a gap between you and the attacker.

Then you need to quickly squat slightly and shift your hips to the side to expose the attacker’s groan.

Then strike hard four times and break free. This should put the assailant in so much pain he releases his grip.

3. The Throat Grab

This is the most common attack on women in domestic violence situations Guerra said. However, this attack can be lethal if not broken out of quickly.

First-pretend to surrender by raising your hands up.

Then, raise your dominate hand higher above your head.

Take that hand and pivot your body around like a windmill to break the hold.

Through training and practice, these moves can prove life saving if employed - but two simple tools can also prove to be extremely helpful - a personal alarm and pepper spray.

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